Thursday, September 4, 2014

I Love Hong Kong

Hong Kong's credit rating is in debate with the governance question, and the people are taking to the streets over who would be their governor.  Beijing is saying Hong Kong will select a governor from a beauty pageant stacked by Beijing.  Li Ka Shing, the Hong Kong billionaire is diversifying his way out of Hong Kong.  Is this the beginning of the end?

No way.  Hong Kong is China's most reliable city, safest and most productive.  Li Ka Shing is a billionaire because at the time of the last riots, circa 1967,  this plastic flower maven bet that Hong Kong was not over and doubled down while the rich were getting out.  Today Li Ka Shing is the "rich getting out" and some hard, young Hakka businessman is doubling down on Hong Kong, praying for a S&P downgrade so his investments make all the more.

As to China offering a beauty pageant of politicians from which all Hong Kong can pick, England gave the people of Hong Kong no choice whatsoever for 250 years, and Hong Kong exceeded the UK on all measures.  Occupy Central is a very good thing, because people need to demonstrate their love for freedom or lose it, as in the USA.  Where we lost it.

I love Hong Kong because it was started at the same time as the USA, by the same heirs of freedom, both as a historical accident, and both were to remain small entities (hence 13 original colonies.)  Hamilton and his crew hijacked the confederation and engineered the deeply flawed constitution, and it was downhill for the USA from there.  When I am in Hong Kong, I am in what the USA ought to have been in 2014.  Among other things, private companies issue the currency.  They know what money is in Hong Kong.  In USA, we have agreed to lie to ourselves, since pretty much only the poor are hurt by the lying.

Another facet upon which I will bloviate is the problem of real property rights, meaning land ownership.  Such a problem in USA.  So much land, and already occupied.  (There is that word again.)  That would imply property rights.  How to handle it?  At first, when our numbers were small, we negotiated.  Later, with bigger numbers, and a capitalist regime, we murdered.

Now in Hong Kong, all arrivals found the land already occupied.  But by the King of England or the Manchu.  People tend to negotiate with the King of England rather than murder for a piece of land.  So for the 250 years of pre-China retention, no one could own land in Hong Kong.  Yet it grew to a premier city-state.  Nothing is new under the ChiComs, no one can own land (one exception, the Church of England owns a spread that the Chinese acknowledge.  Go figure.) And yet, some 3 of the top ten billionaires in Hong Kong made their money in real estate.  99 year leases, property development.

Imagine what we might have accomplished if we respected the Indians rights, and worked within what is ethical?  I know USA is just a corporation, but it is a corporation run by people, and people can decide to do the ethical thing.

A little existential tension makes for good when the comity is good.  I say the smart money is on Hong Kong.  What Beijing proposes is an improvement over what the Brits offered.  And always remember, USA is a democracy.  Do the people of Hong Kong really want to end up like us?

Feel free to forward this by email to three of your friends.


Anonymous said...

Agree 100%!! Great article!


Anonymous said...

The secret to Chinese world economic domination: multitasking.